Office of Law Enforcement
Protecting Wildlife and Plant Resources
Game Bird Hunting In Canada: Bringing Your Birds Home

If you are a U.S. resident and plan to hunt game birds in Canada, you need to be familiar with wildlife importation rules and regulations enforced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The information below should help you complete your hunting trip within the law.

Service Requirements:

  • You may bring migratory game birds (ducks, geese, swans, doves, pigeons, cranes, rails, coots, gallinules, woodcock, and snipe) and other game species that you legally kill in Canada back with you to the United States.
  • Each migratory game bird you import must have one fully feathered wing attached so that its species can be identified.  This wing must remain on the bird until you reach your home or deliver the carcass to an appropriate processing, taxidermy, or preservation facility in the United States.
  • Because of this identification requirement, you may not import processed items made from birds you take, such as sausage.
  • You may not import any birds belonging to another individual.
  • You may enter the country with game birds that you legally killed in Canada through any U.S. Customs port of entry or border crossing.
  • You may also mail or ship your game birds back to the United States.  You must put the full name and address of the exporter and importer on the package.  You must also conspicuously mark the package on the outside with an accurate description of the contents, including the number and species of birds.
  • You may import as many waterfowl as Canadian authorities allow you to export. This number usually corresponds to daily bag and possession limits.
  • You may not import doves and pigeons in excess of the amounts found in 50 CFR 20.61(a) during any calendar week beginning on Sunday.
  • You may import sandhill cranes (a species listed on Appendix II of CITES--the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) without a Canadian CITES export permit only when you bring your hunting trophies home as part of your accompanying baggage.  This exemption does not apply to taxidermy trophies. All other relevant permit, certificate, or license requirements still apply, and these documents must be presented to officials at the border as required.
  • Because you are importing wildlife, you must file a Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish and Wildlife (form 3-177) with the Service or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when you come back to the United States.
  • You must also provide any export permits, tags, or other documents required by Canada, including a copy of your hunting license.
  • You may download and print a copy of the required import/export form 3-177 or you may contact any Service inspection office or CBP before you leave.
  • If you return to the United States at a border crossing or airport staffed by Service officers, our wildlife inspectors may examine your birds.  Wildlife inspectors monitor wildlife imports and exports; conducting physical inspections helps them ensure that both commercial shippers and international travelers comply with U.S. and international wildlife protection laws and regulations.  CBP officers may also look at your birds.
  • You may not import waterfowl or other game birds killed illegally under any Canadian law, including provincial hunting rules and regulations.  Such importations violate both the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act – a U.S. law that makes it a Federal offense to import wildlife taken in violation of state, tribal, or foreign law.
  • If you have additional questions about importing waterfowl or other game birds from Canada, please contact any Service wildlife inspection office.

Other Agency Requirements:

Other Federal agencies, including Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), also regulate the importation of game birds. In addition to reviewing the information provided below, we recommend that you check directly with these other agencies before you trave.

  • You must present your Service declaration (form 3-177) to a CBP officer if you import game birds at ports where no Service inspectors are stationed.
  • USDA/APHIS regulates the importation of animal parts including game birds. That agency may introduce permit, consignment or other requirements at any time in response to the outbreak of wildlife diseases (such as avian influenza).
  • To obtain up-to-date information on such requirements, hunters should consult the USDA/APHIS National Import-Export Center at (301) 734-3277, by fax (301) 734-8226, or via web at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/.

Last updated: February 14, 2013